Finding his purpose

When he was a newly commissioned officer in the SingaporeArmed Forces ( SAF), CPT Geeva had the privilege of working with commanders who effected a positive change in the lives of many Singaporeans, including himself. Having benefitted from the strong mentorship, he wanted to give back to the organisation.

“Being able to contribute to the peace and stability of Singapore, and the opportunities to gain exposure to a wide range of issues and challenges,
sparked my interest in building a career with the Singapore Army,” he adds.

In 2011, CPT Geeva was awarded the SAF Scholarship which set him on the path towards his role today.

“The SAF Scholarship enabled me to complete my undergraduate studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and also a Master of Public Policy at Oxford University,” he says. “This helped me to intimately understand the unique socio-political realities faced by different societies and to broaden my cultural perspectives.”

Lead and inspire
Since becoming an army officer, the 28-year-old has taken on several command roles such as Platoon Commander (PC) and Officer Commanding (OC) in the 48th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (48 SAR).

Being in these command roles has helped him learn and grow in many ways, as he had to be able to relate to and understand the soldiers under his charge to lead them effectively.

“It is critical to engage the hearts and minds of every soldier, to never neglect training safety, and to always seek to build a strong and cohesive unit — one where every soldier feels a strong sense of belonging and purpose in his service,” he elaborates.

“It requires a significant amount of effort, but it is fulfilling to see them grow and mature through their course of service.”

Theory in practice
Currently CPT Geeva is a Force Transformation Officer (FTO) in the Joint Plans and Transformation Department. He conducts long-term planning for the SAF in the domains of new operational concepts, future capabilities, organisational restructuring and resource optimisation.

“National challenges, namely manpower and budgetary limitations, trickle down to the SAF. The organisation must find ways to overcome these constraints to stay ahead of the curve,” he shares.

By drawing from his military and educational experiences, CPT Geeva has been able to gain the relevant skills to lead more effectively on the ground and from a policymaking position.

While studying at Georgetown University, CPT Geeva served as the Georgetown Development Initiative president. He shares that working closely with developing communities and non-government organisations during his time there was what enabled him to gain a broader understanding
of the complexities of policymaking.

“The knowledge and practical experience I gained gave me a unique perspective on policies and systems in the SAF, and would not have been possible without The SAF Scholarship,” he says.

“The SAF is perhaps the only organisation that offers the opportunity to take on the role of teacher, mentor, warfighter and policymaker,” says CPT Geeva.

“I am intellectually stretched in my current policy role, and previously in my command roles, I was able to inspire and lead a remarkable family. This is a privilege I would not trade for anything.”

For those keen to join the SAF, CPT Geeva offers these words of advice: “A profession in the SAF will be challenging, but you will secure our nation’s way of life, forge lifelong bonds, and emerge a stronger leader.”